04/12/2012 05:06 pm ET Updated Jun 12, 2012

Your Secret Weapon in Caregiving: BOTT Therapy

In case you're not familiar with BOTT therapy, it's a brand new type of therapy that has been around for centuries, only under a much different name. "BOTT" therapy stands for what I and millions of Americans lovingly refer to as: "Biting Of The Tongue" therapy. After living for the last six months with two very nice elderly people, my in-laws, I've had to employ this type of therapy repeatedly. Now admittedly, I've lost a lot of blood in the process, but it's a small price to pay for harmony in the household.

The beauty of BOTT therapy is that no one knows! You can get away with looking like the most serene Buddha, with a beatific zen-like expression -- until and unless tell-tale drops of blood start to emanate from your lips. BOTT therapy works because lots of other techniques fall short. What's nice is that you can combine deep, yoga-type, count-to-10 deep breaths, while still relying upon BOTT therapy.

The pain also is quite distracting from the pain of any situation you might be witnessing. Suddenly, it becomes so much easier not to sweat the small stuff, because you're just trying not to wince from the pain in your mouth. You've forgotten your cane again? What do you mean you don't want to take your medicine today? You've changed all your passwords on your accounts and you can't remember what they are?

An added benefit of BOTT therapy is that with your teeth and tongue engaged in an excruciating stalemate, you can't open your mouth. Keeping the mouth closed to hide the evidence of your hidden therapy, prevents you from saying something that you will ultimately regret and which the other people involved will invariably bring up at dinner tomorrow night. Keeping your mouth clamped shut is the key to success here.

For those of you who might have tried Biting of the Tongue Therapy and forgot to keep your mouth closed or purposely showed your loved ones the technique you're using, you know by now that it always backfires. This is a type of therapy that must be hidden for maximum effectiveness.

If you open your mouth revealing your pearly whites clamped down on your scared immobile tongue, it's a sure signal to everyone that you're not the serene Buddha after all, but are instead perilously close to losing your mind, which is what they're driving you to and what seems to be their ultimate goal.

My advice, is if you've decided to tap into BOTT therapy, don't give away your secret strategy under any circumstances, because it just gives your loved ones more ammunition. Better to leave them guessing, while you head over to your local hospital for a blood transfusion.

For more by Barbara Dehn, click here.

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